CNN has been simultaneously broadcasting a new political debate show on television and Facebook Live, in a bid to produce a highly engaged panel discussion suitable for audiences on mobile and at home.
Launched a month before the UK election (4 May), CNN Talk is the publisher's first fully integrated TV and digital proposition, in which television and digital teams have collaborated to discusses the main news stories each week in a 30 minute time slot.
Chaired by CNN correspondent Max Foster, the fixed panel has discussed topics including the recent presidential election in France, the UK election trail and results, the Manchester terrorist attack, and political events in Washington.
"The show incorporates real time comments from our global audience directly to our coverage," said Gill Penlington, director of programming, London and EMEA, CNN.
"On results day for the UK election, we hosted a full-hour version of the show on Abingdon Green, which gave global viewers a direct conduit to all the action at Westminster."
The show, which has reached its fifth episode, airs Fridays at midday BST on CNN International, and is broadcast by plugging the CNN's studio feed into the Facebook API.
"We wanted to do a talk show and be creative, so we thought we would put it out on Facebook Live," said Inga Thordar, editorial and programming director of CNN Digital Worldwide.
"You never really know what is going to bite on Facebook Live, but we have presented it in a way that allows a lot of audience interaction – it is a social TV programme."
The publisher has developed a tool that allows the comments from Facebook appear on a screen for the presenters so they can see them as they are posted.
"It has been fairly clear what the main talking points of the show should be, but we do discuss things beforehand to see that they will work for both a digital and TV audience," she said.
During television commercial breaks, the stream continues on Facebook Live, and the panel stays on to talk to the viewers and answer any questions they may have.
"It's not just a second screen experience – the presenters can now interact directly with the social audience who would have only been able to watch it before," she said.
"We make it a continuous experience for them throughout the whole episode, it's like being behind the scenes."
Audience comments on the series have almost quadrupled since the series started, and Friday’s show on the election was the most viewed ever, reaching a million people.
CNN Talk marks just one collaboration between the digital and television teams at CNN, who work together to reach wider audience and engage better with them.
"We are exceptionally pleased with the results of this show, and the comments, discussion and interaction has been encouraging so far," she said.
"Now we want to look at what the next stage could be for the collaboration for this programme in other formats."
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